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PIERRE -- Gov. Dennis Daugaard says landowners in the Black Hills are showing a strong interest in fighting the region's widespread infestation of mountain pine beetles.

The South Dakota governor unveiled an initiative to fight pine beetles in August, and the state Agriculture Department is now helping landowners with identification and eradication efforts.

Daugaard says about 1,900 landowners have signed up more than 95,000 acres of private land to be surveyed to identify trees infested with the beetles that kill trees. Infested trees will be marked for removal.

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The new initiative will provide an additional $1 million in state funding a year for the next three years in an effort to control the spread of the beetles.

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